The Jenadriyah festival is being held in the Saudi capital Riyadh for the 31st time. It is now more than a quarter of a century-old, loaded with interesting politics, culture and heritage.
Late King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz was the first to organize this festival. He fostered it and developed it to become the top Arab festival that tackles the local heritage of all Arabian Peninsula regions as well as the Saudi Arabian heritage. It has also become a platform of ideas, debates and discussions.
It is an annual opportunity for a deep-rooted traditional race, which is the camel annual race. Who could ever forget how late Sheikh Zayed Al Nahyan and late King Khalid used to eagerly watch the race, cheering for the camel riders.
It is an annual opportunity for a deep-rooted traditional race, which is the camel annual race. Who could ever forget how late Sheikh Zayed Al Nahyan and late King Khalid used to eagerly watch the race, cheering for the camel riders.Mshari Al Thaydi
As for the most beautiful scene in the festival, it is the Ardha dance: The war and pride dance, as the kings and soldiers dance.
The festival also features poetry reading panels loaded with Jenadriyah spirit, and no one can beat the poetry of the Saudi desert man and I mean here, Khalaf bin Hazal al-Otaibi, may God protect him.
The perfect capper can only be through the great operetta, combining the finest art and artists in Saudi Arabia. Unfortunately, this big show will be missed this year!
The Jenadriyah, with all its scenes, seminars and markets, is a rich cultural showcase for Saudi Arabia, the Gulf, and the whole Arab region. Who can ever forget the debates over the second Gulf War and the radical Sahwa current controversies with its antagonists? Those were the days!
The Jenadriyah is not just that! It is a market in the largest sense of the word. Many artisans and national heritage product sellers await this market as it witnesses a large trading movement. There also old women who come from rural areas and the countryside to display their Jenadriyah seasonal products.
We are talking about old Arab markets like Okaz, Zhi Majaz, Mijana, Dumat ak-Jandal, Marbad, Aden and Sohar. From the mentioned names, you notice how Arabs used to geographically spread their markets all over the Arabian Peninsula, from the north to the south.
I think that the Jenadriyah audio-visual archive is important and useful for researchers as they might find many unexpected surprises.
Happy Jenadriyah festival!
The article was first published in Asharq Al-Awsat
Saudi journalist Mshari Al Thaydi presents Al Arabiya News Channel’s “views on the news” daily show “Maraya.” He has previously held the position of a managing senior editor for Saudi Arabia & Gulf region at pan-Arab newspaper Asharq al-Awsat. Al Thaydi has published several papers on political Islam and social history of Saudi Arabia. He appears as a guest on several radio and television programs to discuss the ideologies of extremist groups and terrorists.